Visa calls PayPal’s bluff on erotica censorship

No doubt taking some heat after PayPal claimed (via Mark Coker and Smashwords) that credit card companies are behind PayPal’s censorship of erotica, Visa has responded.

In a letter to Madeleine Morris of Banned Writers, Visa’s Doug Michelman, head of Investor Relations writes:

Dear Ms. Morris,

Thank you for your email regarding PayPal’s recent decision to limit the sale of certain erotica content. First and foremost, we want to clarify that Visa had no involvement with PayPal’s conclusion on this issue. Nor have we seen the material in question. This fact is made clear by PayPal’s recent blog post where it states that its own policies drove the decision.

You can read the letter Visa wrote in it’s entirety here, but I thought I’d highlight a further few key statements:

” . . . we strive to respect the many different perspectives that citizens of the world hold, and we avoid taking sides when those opinions differ.”

“Visa would take no action regarding lawful material that seeks to explore erotica in a fictional or educational manner.”

“As you note in your letter, Visa is not in the business of censoring cultural product.”

Do head over to read PayPal’s blog post on the topic. It’s riddled with BS, like this:

“An important factor in our decision not to allow our payments service to be used to purchase material focused on rape, incest or bestiality is that this category of eBooks often includes images.”

Really? When’s the last time anyone read erotica (not graphic novels) with images?

They also say they support Internet freedom, but “we draw the line at certain adult content that is extreme or potentially illegal.”

Again, extreme according to who — PayPal? Writing for Forbes, Suw Charman-Anderson has a great response to PayPal’s rebuttal.

PayPal’s policies will remain in place, but now we know no one else is behind them but PayPal’s own leaders. Keep the pressure on.